Music Reviews
Afrika Bambaataa

Afrika Bambaataa

Dark Matter Moving At The Speed Of Light

Tommy Boy

It should be remembered that Afrika Bambaataa foreshadowed the rap/punk fusion of the ’90s with his groundbreaking collaboration with John Lydon, “World Destruction.” I’m not sure if he should be credited or blamed for that, but it should be remembered.

Dark Matter Moving At The Speed Of Light includes a collaboration with a partner that at first glance might appear as out of place as Lydon did, notorious new-waver Gary Numan. Covering his track “Metal” and adding Bambaataa’s trademark metallic voice treatments (such as appear on “Planet Rock”) works fine, but it doesn’t produce as good a listening experience as Numan’s collaboration with Junkie XL.

Elsewhere, cries of “Get up on/pick up on this!” just remind us of a faded appeal. Bambaataa was one of the true visionaries of hip-hop with releases like the aforementioned “Planet Rock” and (my fave) “Looking for the Perfect Beat.” He set a standard that would influence at least a generation of followers and helped define a style of music.

All of this is my way of getting to the point that this album is perfectly enjoyable and absolutely inessential; you might like these tracks if you like Bambaataa, but you need the tracks I’ve mentioned above if you like dance music at all.

The problem Bambaataa has over 20 years down the road is not uncommon to visionaries: Once you’ve gotten everyone going in the same direction you are, it’s really easy to be overtaken by the herd.

It’s kind of like the Rolling Stones, you know. All power to ‘em, but name one song off their last four albums.

Afrika Bambaataa: http://www.zulunation.com/afrika.html


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